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A recent study gleaned five insights on virtual instruction by examining the techniques shared in common by top-rated online instructors.  The spring of 2020 has brought a sudden shift for many classrooms into an online setting. Teachers are trying to adjust their instruction rapidly, and many are doing remote teaching for the first time. Experience matters, and it can be frustrating trying to help our students in this new way with everything else happening right now.

1. Authentic and Relevant Course Material

There is a wealth of online content to link to and reference, but including authentic primary materials is a great way to anchor learning. Authentic sources, real examples, and cases taken from our history or the natural world provide the rich context and nuance that hypothetical designs or made-up examples often lack.  Asking students to analyze and interpret primary materials and timely content can boost their critical thinking and engagement.

2. A Variety of Multimedia Resources

Speaking of external media, it’s also important to provide material in a variety of formats. Providing video, audio, reading, and interactive content can make a course more engaging. It also improves the accessibility of a course: Students who may struggle with a particular medium—students with a reading barrier such as dyslexia or a video barrier such as hearing or attention problems—are at a major disadvantage if that medium is the only way to engage with material.

3. Student Creation of Content—Individually and Collaboratively

Students can show their engagement with the rich instructional materials described above by creating similarly rich products. The things students create should include opportunities to work together and to express themselves individually.

4. Student Reflection on Learning

Reflection and metacognition are essential to learning in any setting, and in an online setting teachers must be intentional about helping students reflect. The study authors emphasize that the reflection activities of their teachers went beyond assessing understanding.

5. Explanation of Purpose

Students should also look forward in order to understand how their coming work will build upon what they’ve already done. Teachers may not want to share all the details of their lesson plans, but every student should have a sense of how they are trying to grow.

The information for this post was taken from an article by Michael Ralph in edutopia, follow this link for more details and the complete article.